Useful documents to help understand the budget


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As a service to those of you who aren’t fans of reading 3,219 page documents, there are plenty of alternatives available to figure out what’s in the budget bill. Here are some useful links:

From the Legislative Services Commission, some great resources:

  • Budget in Brief – a three-page summary showing where the state’s revenue comes from, where it goes, key policy changes and agency-by-agency appropriations for the fiscal 2012-2013 biennium compared to 2010 and 2011.
  • Budget in Detail (also available as excel doc) – a detailed list of individual line items and how they fared
  • Redbooks – Extremely handy little books about each agency of state government, detailing their various line items, with explanations of what they are used for, relevant policy changes, and how the funds fared in the administration’s proposed budget. Not all agencies have red books posted yet, but they should be up before the agency’s first hearing, so keep checking back.An interesting comparison is to look at the Greenbooks from the FY2010-2011 budget, showing the final version of the last state budget, and why agencies were funded at the levels that they were to compare and contrast policy priorities of the current administration vs. the last.

The administration sums up its proposals in five documents, made available from the Office of Budget and Management:

  • Blue Book – so named for the color of its printed cover, this is traditionally released by OBM, outlining where the state gets its revenue, how it is spent, major policy initiatives, and agency-by-agency reviews of state funding for the biennium.
  • Budget Summary – shorter Blue Book
  • Savings Book – a new creation of the Kasich administration, this document reviews various agencies and the reductions in GRF appropriations that result from cost-cutting and other measures.
  • Tax Expenditure Report – basically a list of tax loopholes and how much they cost, this document is required by Ohio law and should get a lot more attention. For example, did you know that you get a huge break on sales tax when you purchase a partial share of a private jet?
  • Reforms Book – brand new addition to the collection that came out today. We’ve yet to review it, but think it should be helpful for discovering what policy changes were made so we know what parts of the bill to read.

And, for reference, here is a link to the budget bill (HB153) itself.

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